Community & Social Services
Religious leaders are responsible for helping and supporting followers of their religion through spiritual and moral guidance.
Apprenticeship or traineeship
What does a Religious Leader do?
Religious leaders are responsible for helping and supporting members of their congregation through spiritual and moral guidance.
As a religious leader, you would:
- plan, conduct and lead regular religious ceremonies or services
- communicate and explain the teachings of your faith
- conduct special services for events such as births, marriages and deaths
- educate people who are converting to your faith
- provide support to people at difficult times in their lives
- represent your faith within the general community
- participate in inter-faith dialogue and worship
- do administrative work and keeping records required by civil or religious law.
Your exact duties would vary according to your religion, and the makeup of your congregation or group of followers.
Key skills and interests
To become a religious leader, you would need:
- a deep commitment to your particular religious calling
- excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- to enjoy working with and helping all types of people
- patience, trustworthiness and discretion
- to meet standards of behaviour expected by your community and your religion
- a willingness to be involved with your local community.
Working hours and conditions
Religious leaders work long and irregular hours. You would need to be available whenever you are called on, and you may need to conduct certain religious services at set times of the day or week.
You would need to travel regularly around your local community, and to places such as hospitals, school and aged care homes.
You would perform services and ceremonies at your place of your worship, and you would also have an office there or at your own home. Some religious leaders are based permanently in a prison, hospital or with the armed forces.
You may be paid a salary, or be a volunteer. You may rely on donations, or be given somewhere to live within your community. Being a religious leader can be emotionally and physically stressful.
How to become an Religious Leader?
Entry Level Education
The training and entry requirements to become a religious leader differ according to your chosen religion. You might need to gain formal theology qualifications, or join from a role as as a specialist in another field such as welfare, or you might learn through experience and on-the-job training.
If you want to train to become a leader in your faith, you should ask your own religious leader for advice and guidance.
Employment opportunities for religious leaders are expected to show slow growth.
Population growth and increasing multi-culturalism are being partly offset by decreasing participation in traditional religious gatherings and events, and the emergence of non-church practitioners such as wedding celebrants.
The internet is also offering opportunities for religious teaching to be accessed online.